Oh, a storm is threat’ning/ My very life today/ If I don’t get some shelter/ Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away. – MICK JAGGER, KEITH RICHARDS (“GIMME SHELTER”)

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away.

— Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (“Gimme Shelter”)

‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.

— Bob Dylan (“Shelter from the Storm”)

I've been working hard so long
Seems like pain has been my only friend
My fragile heart's been done so wrong
I wondered if I'd ever heal again.

— Bruno Mars (“Today My Life Begins”)

The lost get found
So when you get the chance, are you gonna take it?

— Brittany Nicole Waddell, Benjamin Glover (“The Lost Get Found”)

Try imagining a place where it's always safe and warm.
— Bob Dylan (“Shelter from the Storm”)
Yesterday has come and gone
And I've learned how to leave it where it is
And I see that I was wrong
Forever doubting I could win.

— Bruno Mars (“Today My Life Begins”)

I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me
Leave the past behind me, today my life begins,
A whole new world is waiting, it’s mine for the taking,
I know I can make it, today my life begins.

— Bruno Mars (“Today My Life Begins”)

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm, and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.

— Isaiah 25:4

A shade by day, defense by night,
A shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright,
A shelter in the time of storm.

— Vernon J. Charlesworth (“A Shelter in the Time of Storm” circa 1880)

I woke up this mornin' feelin' alright
I've been fightin' for tomorrow all my life
Yeah, I woke up this mornin' feelin' brand new
Cause the dreams that I've been dreamin' have finally come true.

— will.i.am (“It's A New Day”)

Freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life.

— Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse (“Feeling Good”)

Taro Yamasaki: Shelter from the Storm


“Shelter from the Storm” pairs verse with photography to explore the essential role residential shelter plays in breaking the hold of traffickers over their victims, saving children at risk, and liberating the enslaved to pursue their dreams. Taro Yamasaki’s evocative photographs of life within these supportive houses chronicle the courageous journeys trafficking survivors make from slavery to independence, from despair to empowerment. Presentation of Yamasaki’s photographs as if they were pasted in a survivor’s scrapbook, with reflections drawn from song and Scripture, communicates an intense longing for, and the incomparable healing power of, safe “shelter from the storm.”

About Taro Yamasaki

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Taro Yamasaki uses photography to drive social change. His images in “Shelter from the Storm” transform how we look at human trafficking. Rather than voyeuristic depictions of prostituted women, Yamasaki depicts the lives of the lucky ones who escape their traffickers and find sanctuary in one of the few residential shelters dedicated to their recovery in this country. His portraits of everyday life in these supportive communities transmit the power of safe shelter to heal the labyrinth of scars inflicted by prostitution, abuse, and addiction. Yamasaki’s images are visual affirmation that, unless the chronic shortage of residential shelter for domestic trafficking survivors is adequately addressed, the suffering of thousands enslaved in America will continue unremitted.

Interview with the Artist

Watch Taro Yamasaki discuss his photography project for VS.